Friday, 15 April 2011

40K OSR? (1)

An OSR for 40K? Might be a good thing. Not necessarily an Old School Renaissance. Better would be an Other School Renaissance or Optional School Renaissance.

GW's giving us a helping hand with the first, with the new Jokaero for example. But the essence of the others is doing it ourselves, and getting new ideas out there. And let's not forget, 40K's roots are in roleplaying and improvisation. Rogue Trader used a GM.

Let's follow up.

I propose a weekly compilation, or maybe compendium, when there's material.

Here's the first. If you play 40K, I recommend at least browsing all of the bold links. It'll take a few minutes max, and could be game-changing.

  • This week we had Von's response at GAME OVER to the criticism of kill points - second-edition style missions. He has a table of six ready to go, an intuitive approach to victory and a set of rules for tournaments. It's a big tent.
  • Auberon at Digital Waaagh! can always be relied on for good old school material. This week he has Ork madboyz, specifically frantiks. Here's the original. Politically correct it may not be, but that's how it was.
  • I had my humble offering too, a suggestion for a pruning of the basic ruleset, and that got a bit of back and forth going a couple of days ago.

This week I was also reminded of Gotthammer's intriguing three-part discussion of updating 40K for the 21st century, which starts here, at Collegia Titanica.

So join in. Get under the hood. Get greasy and let's tweak this baby.

Update: I forgot Warpstone Flux's homebrew for the quantum cannon, and he's just
             posted more for daemon carriers, and he actually has far more homebrew
             and house rules at the blog than I thought, all here.

Update: Colonel Kane at Tales from the Maelstrom has just posted too, and those
             guys epitomise this, mixing up old and new. He has a question, about rules
             for getting hordes of less-detailed characters into Inquisitor. Can anyone help?


Albert R. said...

I *love* converting miniatures, but I hate 40K as a game - rules are really bad :D

Sean Robson said...

This has been on my mind a lot lately, too. We need an old school, do-it-yourself movement for miniatures wargames similar to what the OSR does for roleplaying games.

With respect to 40K, I love the miniatures, I love the background and setting, but I agree with Omlet, that the rules themselves leave something to be desired. So bring on the house-rules!

DocStout said...

I started playing 40K with the Dark Eldar, a force that has never been properly balanced in my opinion. Every version of the army list I've played with, the game has been a blowout on one side or the other, and it never felt "fair", whether I won or lost.

I haven't, in any edition since their release, seen rules I approve of for them, so I switched to Necrons.

Porky said...

@ Omlet - I feel that pain. Check out Tales from the Maelstrom for how the various rulesets can be used and KillZone - free to download - for a skirmish version of the modern game. They might not work for you, but maybe an old school RPG approach is possible too? That would need a bit of thinking. The 40K setting and background are very rich, especially with the sum total of all we've seen over the years, and GW ought really to encourage us to use it in new ways, not least when it's driving sales of their minis.

@ Sean Robson - All it takes is a new idea a week, even a month, from a handful of blogs in the community, as little as a minor house rule, or a small homebrew add-on like the quantum laser. Think what we'd have.

@ DocStout - I've also never seen a fan list for the Dark Eldar. We might not see one for a while with the new codex, but again, you could start. Add a unit a week, or when the inspiration comes, with statline and rules, put them up on one of your blogs, or maybe as a guest post at another given the theme might not match, and soon there'd be a fandex like Big Jim's Soul Reapers or Lantz's AdMech. You can download those free through the small cover images in the left sidebar at the top of the page. If you're worried about balance, you can submit it to The Codex Project.

trollsmyth said...

Yeah, a DIY attitude is definitely needed in this hobby. When I started with little cardboard chits on hexes, there was a strong DIY flavor to the hobby that seems to have vanished.

And I'll second the call for a new, DIY rules set for 40k. The current rules are shoddy, the codex system is a mess, and it would be hard to make something worse. A set of rules that lead to quicker games, more balanced armies, and adhered more to the fluff of the setting would be a huge boon for the hobby, I'm thinking.

jabberjabber said...

Thanks for the link!
Long live house rules methinks!

Von said...

Likewise - thanks for the wee linky, Porky.

Needles said...

Bare with me for a moment here. I own Rogue Trader & one thing that stands out about it is the Conversion Factor. The book reads like an Rpg with its chapters, fluff, etc. The thing is that Rogue Trader doesn't get enough love from the 40k crowd. They forget that part of the charm is actually playing with the minis that you want to. The conversion part of the game is its strength. I ran a Chaos Army for years using the Lost & The Damned rules. House ruling is part of the game, a part that's lost as every single corner of the 40k universe is coded, cataloged, & changed. I'm planning on using some of the stuff from Rogue Trader with Human Space Empires with the numbers filed off.

trollsmyth said...

Needles: That is an awesome idea. I'll be looking forward to seeing how you pull that off.

Porky said...

I've been thinking a lot about that idea of a DIY ruleset. What's the best way of doing it?

It seems to me it's more likely to work with a very decentralised approach, where anyone with an interest posts ideas and discussions take place, and things slowly consolidate until there's enough material to formally playtest, maybe via something like The Codex Project.

As for Rogue Trader, the conversion potential is definitely a strength, although it might also be something that scares some people off. A degree of codification might be needed, but I'd agree there should be as much encouragement of imagination as possible beyond that. Even without a DIY ruleset, a slow increase in acceptance of creativity and a slow shifting of creative responsibility back on to players seems a good thing.